If you think you might be pregnant, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the choices facing you right now. Maybe you are considering options, like abortion, that you have never thought about before. No matter what choice you make we are here for you, but here are some things to think about when considering abortion.
The first step before doing anything is to confirm your pregnancy. There are many reasons why you might have missed your period or that you might be experiencing some symptoms of pregnancy. Considering abortion if you have not taken a pregnancy test is only adding to your stress. Even if you have taken a test at home consider taking another test to double check the results.
If your tests are positive, it is vital to have an ultrasound before going through with an abortion. Only women who have a viable (capable of living) pregnancy should have an abortion procedure. An ultrasound is very important in determining the health of your pregnancy and is very important for your safety.
What type of abortion procedure you receive varies depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. An ultrasound can help determine the gestational age of your baby.
Medical Abortion – RU-486, the Abortion Pill, Medical Abortion, Chemical Abortion
The abortion pill has been referred to by many different names but even though the names may be different, the medication is the same. However, the abortion pill and emergency contraception (i.e., Morning After Pill, Plan B, ella) are different. When medication is used to end a pregnancy, it is called a chemical abortion. The most common medication is RU-486.
You should meet with your doctor to discuss terminating your pregnancy before a chemical abortion. Your doctor should do a physical examination and an ultrasound to determine whether you’re a candidate for RU-486 and to check that you really are pregnant and within the timeframe for RU-486 to be prescribed. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for women to be given the abortion pill when they were not even pregnant or when they are beyond the effective time frame.
The abortion pill is a three-step process.
- You will take a drug that will cause the death of your baby. This ends your pregnancy.
- Some women decide they no longer want to continue with this process at this point. We can connect these women with a network of caring medical professionals who may be able to reverse the effects of this medication.
- You will take a different drug that will cause you to expel your baby from your body. Women are not normally in the doctor’s office when they begin to feel the effects of this drug. Side effects may include nausea, weakness, fever/chills, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and dizziness.
- Seven to fourteen days after taking the first drug there should be a follow up with the doctor to ensure your baby and all pregnancy supporting tissue have been expelled completely. If anything remains a surgical abortion may be required. This follow-up appointment is very important as anything being retained could cause a potentially serious condition.
First-Trimester Aspiration Abortion (can occur up to thirteen weeks of pregnancy)
This procedure can be done without dilation or anesthesia, but local anesthesia may be used to numb the cervix if you are further along in your pregnancy.
After being numbed the cervix is stretched open. A dilator is then inserted through the vagina and into the cervix. Once a clear path is established the abortion provider will insert progressively larger dilators into the cervix.
Once the cervix is stretched wide enough, your baby is suctioned out. The cervix and other internal organs will be inspected once the baby and all pregnancy supporting tissue is removed, to ensure they were not harmed.
Sometimes sharp curettage (or scraping the walls of the uterus) will be done followed by a final suctioning to ensure that nothing is left in the uterus.
After the procedure you will likely be taken to a room to recuperate; the recovery time will vary. Physical complications may appear immediately or sometime later.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) in the Second or Third Trimester. (From roughly thirteen weeks of pregnancy onward)
The first step is to open the cervix. The cervix will need to be opened wider than is required for a first trimester abortion. Dilators will be used to do this. In the early second trimester, dilation may take several hours or overnight; further in the second trimester dilation may take one to two days. The method used to dilate the cervix depends on many factors.
D & E Procedure
The dilators will be removed, and an ultrasound may be used to locate your baby and pregnancy supporting tissue. Early in the second trimester suction aspiration without forceps may be enough to remove your baby. This is a lot like a vacuum aspiration abortion procedure.
Forceps are usually needed after about 16 weeks gestation to complete the procedure. The forceps are inserted into the uterus, opened and your baby is pulled apart and out using a rotating motion. After removal of your baby and the contents of the uterus there will be a check to make sure nothing was punctured internally during the procedure and that your baby and all the pregnancy supporting tissue have been removed from the uterus.
Chemicals may be injected into the baby if he or she has reached an age where survival outside of the womb might be possible. These chemicals are injected either into the amniotic sac or directly into your baby’s heart or umbilical cord. An ultrasound may be used to direct the needles as it is being inserted. After your baby’s death a D&E procedure may be performed to ensure nothing has been left in the uterus.
Every time the forceps enter the uterus the potential for unintended harm increases. So, it is the goal to remove your baby as intact as possible. This is done using dilators, like laminaria, two days in advance to dilate the cervix. The skull of your baby is frequently too big to pass through the cervical canal, so it is necessary to crush it before removal. This can be accomplished through the use of forceps or by making a hole at the base of the skull through which the contents will be suctioned out. In difficult cases, the skull may be pierced with a sharp instrument and then is collapsed using forceps or suction. After this your baby can be removed from the uterus mostly intact.
Late-term abortions are frequently chosen because your baby has been diagnosed with an abnormality. If this is the case, you have help, hope and options available.
If you are considering an abortion, you are not alone. There are many options available that do not include abortion. With any medical procedure, it is important to understand what is involved, the possible side effects, any possible risks, possible complications, and any alternatives. If you would like to talk to someone about your situation and options call us and we can provide you with confidential help.